International Defence Equipment and Services Exhibition „HEMUS 2022”
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 01 - 04 June 2022

"Hemus 2020" Post-event Overview

30.09.2020 - 03 .10.2020, Plovdiv, BULGARIA



The Fourteenth Jubilee edition of the International Defence Equipment and Services Exhibition "Hemus 2020" took place from 30-th September to 3-rd October 2020 at the International Fair Plovdiv. The Event was one of the few worldwide carried out physically in heavy pandemic restrictions and economic difficulties. Enormous efforts were put by the Organizers to comply with all crisis requirements and to assure not only attractive bit also save place and conditions for exhibitors and visitors.

Despite the complex epidemic and economic situation around the world ‘Hemus 2020’ marked significant growth in all trade parameters compared to the previous edition in 2018. Notably, ‘Hemus 2020’ occupied one more additional pavilion to accommodate the increased number of its exhibitors. On an exhibition area of ​​a total of 3319 sq.m., of which 2003 sq.m. indoor and 1316 sq.m. outdoor 95 companies and organizations were presented, of which 68 Bulgarian and 27 foreign from 17 countries, namely the Republic of Austria, the Australian Union, the Republic of Belarus (2 companies), the Kingdom of Belgium, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Federal Republic of Germany (4 companies), the Kingdom of Denmark, the State of Israel (4 companies), the Kingdom of Spain (two companies), the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Poland, the USA (3 companies), the Republic of Turkey, the Republic of Finland, the French Republic (3 companies) and the Czech Republic. The Bulgarian Academia showed much higher interest compared to previous years, as the exhibition was attended by 12 Scientific bodies and Universities, of which 6 military and 6 civilian. Among our distinguished exhibitors we hosted US Army’s contingent which took part in the Static Display together with the Bulgarian military units as well as US Air Forces’ fighters which participated together with helicopters from the Bulgarian Air Force in the Live Demonstrations.

Overall, despite the complex economic and epidemic situation in the world, the commercial parameters achieved at "Hemus 2020" exceeded by 10% to 50% those of the previous edition.


This Edition aroused widespread interest and visits by a number of representatives of the Bulgarian state institutions, Official delegations and guests of the Minister of Defence, many Ambassadors, Defence and Trade attachés from diplomatic missions accredited in Sofia, representatives of the Bulgarian and foreign business and last but not least by many Bulgarian citizens.

In a national context, the exposition was visited by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, two Deputy Prime Ministers and number of ministers, the Chief of Defence, the Commanders of the Services, Generals, and Admirals.

The exhibition was also visited by 15 foreign delegations, guests of the Minister of Defence from Algeria (Military Delegation and Accredited Ambassador), Brazil (Deputy Minister and Accredited Ambassador), Greece (National Armaments Director), Egypt (Military Delegation), RN Macedonia ( National Armaments Director), Moldova (Military Delegation), Iraq (Minister of Defence and Head of the Embassy), Spain (Deputy National Armaments Director), Cameroon (Minister of Defence and Military Delegation), Qatar (Military Delegation), Poland (Deputy National Armaments Director), Romania (National Armaments Director), Saudi Arabia (High Military Delegation), Finland (Permanent Secretary of Defence), France (Military Delegation and Accredited Ambassador). Along with the official delegations, Hemus 2020 had visitors from about 50 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. A number of countries were presented as visitors of the Exhibition by their Defence Attachés accredited in Sofia.


The total number of visitors of ‘Hemus 2020’ and its accompanying events surpassed 3,000 people, which represents a significant increase compared to the previous edition in 2018.  In terms of visitors, there was a notable growing interest by Bulgarian and foreign institutions and international businesses, despite the global restrictions due to the pandemic.

The conducted independent sociological survey repeatedly takes into account the complicated epidemic and economic situation in which ‘Hemus 2020’ was conducted. In this situation, the Edition marks a significant increase in the number of new exhibitors, while their satisfaction remains high. Despite the specific situation, XIV-th edition of ‘Hemus’, unlike the previous ones, managed to attract more visitors, oriented towards concluding contracts. The prospects for concluding contracts during the exhibition and shortly after are evaluated mainly as excellent and very good. Pre-arranged meetings with business partners are also fully implemented. The assessment of ‘Hemus 2020’ compared to previous editions is changing in a positive direction, both for exhibitors and visitors, and their readiness to participate in the edition in 2022 remains at a high level. In conclusion, the study states that "Hemus 2020" is accomplished in an extremely complex economic situation, but still manages to meet the needs of its exhibitors and visitors.

The exhibition and the accompanying events were covered by representatives of over 36 Bulgarian and foreign media.

The exposition in practice continues to cover the full cycle of the development of a defiance product or service – education and training, innovation, R&D, production, commercialization, acquisition, lifecycle support and utilization.

Expanded international participation and the strong international, European and Euro-Atlantic interest in the exhibition have turned it into a high international forum for the realization of interests, in the domains "business to business", "state to state" and "business to state".

Thus, ‘Hemus 2020’ proved to be not only growing with the years success but also confirmed itself as most reliable partner in a crisis for  National and International Institutions, Armed Forces, Defence Industries and Academic Communities.

In few words, the Jubilee ‘Hemus 2020’ had marked a track record in the most uncertain of times.

Therefore, the organizers and their partners are proud to add one more message to those already used to characterize IDEE ‘HEMUS’:


Opening, accompanying events and closing of the exhibition.

Opening Ceremony and Press conference.

The exhibition was opened by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Rumen Radev. The Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security and Minister of Defence, Krassimir Karakachanov, and the Minister of Economy Lachezar Borisov addressed the exhibitors and visitors as well.

Among the officials at the Opening ceremony were also MPs, Secretary General and Advisers to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoli Velichkov, Deputy Minister of Economy Stamen Yanev, Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov, Commanders of the Services, Generals and Admirals, the Regional Governor of Plovdiv, the Mayor of Plovdiv, the General Director of the International Fair Plovdiv, Ivan Sokolov, the Ministers of Defence of Iraq and Cameroon, Heads of over 20 diplomatic missions in our country, over 50 accredited Defence and Trade Attachés, as well as many Bulgarian and foreign guests.

Immediately after the opening and for the first time since 2016, the Bulgarian Air Force and the United States Air Force held a joint Live Demonstrations, which restored the tradition of this accompanying the exhibition event.


Traditionally, before the opening a Press conference was held at which the media representatives were acquainted by the Director General of the International Fair Plovdiv, Ivan Sokolov with the importance of the Exhibition and its main parameters. The Deputy Minister of Defence, Anatoli Velichkov, in his capacity as the Main representative of the Organizing Committee of the Exhibition, emphasized the fact that despite the extremely complex health situation worldwide related to the continued spread of COVID 19, the exhibition traditionally continues to celebrate a significant increase in the number of participating exhibitors and visitors, as well as the occupied exhibition space compared to the previous edition. It was also noted that the growth of international interest in ‘Hemus 2020’ and the international nature of the Exhibition and its accompanying events is significant, as the exhibition was attended by 15 foreign Official delegations, two Defence Ministers, a Deputy Minister, a Permanent Secretary of Defence, a number of National Armaments Directors, etc.

The Deputy Minister of Economy, Stamen Yanev, emphasized that with its 14-th anniversary edition the International Defence Equipment and Services Exhibition ‘Hemus 2020’ is once again establishing itself as a significant exhibition of products and technologies for defence and security in Southeast Europe. Proof of this is the wide participation of Bulgarian and foreign companies and government officials. Today, ‘Hemus 2020’ is a well-established platform for presenting international industrial cooperation in defence and security, for developing existing and creating new partnerships.


Accompanying Events.

Business Meetings.

‘Hemus 2020’ has reaffirmed itself as an extremely successful platform for business meetings. Thanks to the mechanism developed by the Organizers, more than 40 business meetings of various types were announced, organized and held.

Regarding the g2b format, the most significant was the joint meeting of President Radev, Deputy Prime Minister Karakachanov, Minister of Economy Borisov, Chief of Defence Admiral Eftimov and Deputy Minister of Economy Yanev with the heads of over 20 companies from the Bulgarian defence industry. This joint initiative demonstrated unity in positions of all State institutions and common concern for the development of the Bulgarian defence industry and economy, as a whole in an extremely complex economic situation in the world.

Regarding the g2g format, all Official delegations held business meetings with the leadership of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, and many of them - bilaterally. In this context were conducted Bulgarian-Spanish forum for military-technical cooperation and the meeting of Deputy Minister Zapryanov with all National Armaments Directors participating in the Exhibition.

As of the b2b format, the most important meetings were those of the Bulgarian with the Spanish business, as well as the presentations of the companies Elta Systems, Samel-90, Sage Consult. More than 30 exhibitors requested and held business meetings with their business partners.


Live Demonstrations.

Immediately after the opening and for the first time since 2016, a Live Demonstration was held, which restored the tradition of this accompanying event.

The Mi-17 helicopter with the Bulgarian tricolour and two BEL helicopters from the Bulgarian Air Force took part in the show, which for the first time in the history of the exhibition Flew over together with two F-16 aircraft from the US Air Force.


Static display of armament and equipment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Ministry of Interior of the country and the European Command of the United States Armed Forces.

Exhibits  were grouped in several centres - "Automotive and Transport", "Specialized equipment", "Aviation equipment and Navy Diving equipment’, ''Armament and optical instruments", "Means of individual and ballistic protection", "Air Force Field communication centre", ‘Specialized automotive equipment”, “Centre for Ministry of Interior  equipment” . For the first time in the history of the Exhibition, the Static Display included a Centre for Equipment of the European Command of the US Army, where two Infantry Fighting Armoured Vehicles and one Close-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle were presented.


 Live Firings.

Live Firings were held on 2-nd October at Central Artillery Technical Testing Range " Zmejovo". Participation in the demonstration firings took seven companies and organizations that have demonstrated 24 kinds of new defence products from the following Bulgarian defence industry producers: "VMZ" JSC – Sopot, "ARCUS" JSC -  Lyaskovetz, "AHELOJ OPM" Ltd. - Sofia, "DUNARIT" JSC - Ruse, "ARSENAL 2000" JSC - Kazanlak and "METALIKA AB" Ltd. - Sofia. The Central Artillery Technical Testing Range ”Zmejovo" demonstrated ammunition tests as well. 

The event attracted wide interest among high-ranking guests and visitors of ‘Hemus 2020’, as well as among exhibitors from the country and abroad. Among those presented were Official delegations of Algeria , Brazil , Moldova , Qatar, Romania and RN Macedonia , Defence Attaches  of Canada and Hungary , Bulgarian and foreign companies ‘Lomini’, ‘EMKO’, Partia form Finland and General Dynamics European Land Systems from Switzerland.

For consecutive time the Live Firings were broadcast on live on the Exhibition site, but also for the first time it was done on the Information stands’ monitors of in both pavilions.


International Scientific Conference.

The Tenth International Scientific Conference "Research and Investment in Technological Innovation - a decisive factor for defence and security" was held on 1-st October 2020.

The conference was attended by over 100 delegates and guests from the country and abroad, including those from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Economy, other Central government structures, Defence Headquarters, Joint Forces Command, Armed Forces Commands, Military Education system, the academic community, military diplomatic representatives and representatives of Bulgarian and foreign companies and organizations from the defence industry. Among the participants were the official delegations of Algeria, Moldova and Romania. More than 70 scientific reports were presented.

For the first time this year, the participation in the International Scientific Conference was held not only in physically, but also remotely. In the conditions of the increased epidemiological situation in the world, this made it possible to report online, and all presentations and speakers could be watched on the Internet via the web from a video server of the Institute of Defence. 


Day Zero Discussion.

On 29-th September the day before the Official opening of ‘Hemus 2020’, the ‘Hemus-95’ Foundation together with the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria organized another new event accompanying the exhibition - a discussion on "The Future of Defence: Technological Innovation in NATO". The event aimed to discuss the Alliance's technological future and cooperation between NATO member states in the field of new technologies, information and communication security, as well as the main security challenges in the digital world. The discussion was attended by Lieutenant General Iliev, Deputy Chief of Defence, as well as specially invited representatives of Bulgarian institutions, high-technology companies and companies from the defence industry. The discussion was also attended by servicemen, representatives of Bulgarian security institutions (Ministry of Interior, SANS, Se-GovA), high-tech companies and exhibitors of ‘Hemus 2020’, subject experts in the field of cybersecurity, representatives of Academia and Universities.


Industrial forum.

Industrial forum had a topic "European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the prospects before the Bulgarian defence industry." The event was held on 30-th October

The main objective of the forum was aimed at discussion of experiences and lessons learned from the participation of Bulgarian Defense Technological Industrial Base and the Public Administration in program EDIDP in 2019 as well as the development and implementation of national level of clear and transparent model and procedures for participation and support of EDIDP / EDF projects from the side of industry, research organizations and the state. Discussed were the possibilities of the Forum and to promote a dialogue between the Bulgarian and European companies for partnership and participation in EDIDP (match-making).

A point of view on the topic was shared by representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Defence, Bulgarian businesses, as well as the US Defence Attaché, Colonel Johnson, who presented a report on "The importance of the Defence industry from the point of view of servicemen “.


Closing Ceremony.

The closing ceremony was held on October 3 from 11.00 to 14.00. The Deputy Minister of Defence, Anatoli Velichkov presented a plaque to each of the exhibitors, as well as certificates for innovative developments presented at the exhibition of six teams from Vasil Levski National High School.", Faculty of Artillery, Air Defence and CIS", Shumen.

Each exhibitor was awarded a Certificate of Participation by the organizers and the Plovdiv International Fair.